Seven years ago when I was starting my coaching business, I was asked to study a leader whose business style I wanted to to emulate and no prizes for guessing who I chose – Donald Trump. I’ve had countless stares of disbelief and some not so nice comments in recent weeks when I shared this story with people. Many cannot understand how I could emulate someone who has in recent months has openly criticised immigrants, the minority communities and women. “Women! Rachpal, do you even know what he’s said about women?” I hear you. What can I say? That was seven years ago when we tuned in to the television to hear the famous words “You’re fired!” In no way is this article an endorsement of his run for Presidency but I’m intrigued by the brand called Trump and how he, the least expected candidate, has managed to edge out 16 competitors to become the Republican nominee for President of the USA.
Just as any product, be it your favourite toothpaste or in this case a Presidential candidate, people form emotional attachment to the product. They began to associate the feelings they get from using the product, with the brand of the product.
Trump has a SIGNATURE STYLE – one of the key ingredients needed for a good brand. He’s Blunt – as blunt as you can get and makes no apologies. His style has been consistent from the onslaught; from the days of The Apprentice with the signature phrase “You’re Fired” to now where he puts down all his political opponents and segments of society who he believes have adversely affected the social and economic climate in the USA. His words don’t resonate with some, but what’s important for Trump is that his style resonate with a significant proportion of the society. His supporters like the direct, no political-jargon-rhetoric they’ve been hearing election after election. He can make a mistake, back-paddle and they still love him cos “who doesn’t make mistakes? who doesn’t retract an opinion?”
Another factor that endears him to his supporters is his VALUES – he values hard work and family. One can argue that he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth but make no mistake, there are and have been many children born to similar wealth who’ve not made it as big as he has. He couldn’t have done it by just merely riding on his father’s wealth – when he tells his story of how he works with the bricklayers and how he will fight for the worker who is willing to work hard, he’s won their hearts. After all, he made them a promise, “I am Your Voice.” And look at his family – no doubt he’s been married thrice, but hey, divorces and remarriages are quite common these days so why hold that against him, right? You have to admit that his children are very articulate and they are carrying on his legacy with the same level of tenacity as him. The final moment at the Republican GOP Convention when all his children went on to the stage was a defining moment of how it is possible to have the American Dream with your family by your side.
So while I hear many people criticise his run for Presidency, the brand called Trump is not fading into the sunset anytime soon.